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SAMHSA’s Award-Winning Newsletter
March/April 2009, Volume 17, Number 2 

Homelessness: DVD Highlights Partnerships in Seattle & Philadelphia

What works when it comes to addressing the issues of people who have mental illness and are homeless? A DVD package available from SAMHSA documents the success of two integrated programs in Philadelphia and Seattle.

SAMHSA’s Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) commissioned the project, which puts forth the idea that homeless individuals need housing and then other services to address their needs.

Photo of the Seattle, WA, skyline

Seattle—An Example of Partnerships at Work

An image of Seattle’s famous Space Needle and glittering skyline is juxtaposed with an image of individuals sleeping in the local park, people so familiar to passersby that they are almost invisible.

“Our challenge is to take that person off the street and put them in permanent, supportive housing,” said Bill Hobson, the Executive Director of Seattle’s Downtown Emergency Services Center (DESC). “We operate on the assumption that clinical and social stabilization is going to occur faster when you eliminate the chaos of homelessness from a person’s life.”

DESC has partnered with housing managers, social workers, hospital staff, the police department, and the criminal justice system to see that all the parties who deal with individuals who are homeless are working together. Mental health courts are a part of the mix (see Treatment as an Alternative to Jail).

Photo of Philadelphia, PA, skyline

Philadelphia—Civic Freedom and Responsibility

Project H.O.M.E. (Housing, Opportunities for Employment, Medical Care, and Education) takes a slightly different approach.

Sister Mary Scullion, who spearheaded the formation of Project H.O.M.E., went to the mayor’s office 15 years ago to give voice to the needs of people living on the streets of Philadelphia. Her activism sparked the creation of a mayoral task force that continues to bring together members of the city council, social service providers, representatives of the city’s Department of Behavioral Health, business people, and private donors.

A Place at the Table

Both DESC in Seattle and Project H.O.M.E. in Philadelphia recognize that no single entity can meet all the needs of people who are homeless. Those agencies and groups that provide entitlements, medical care, housing, and substance abuse and mental health treatment all need to sit down at the same table and talk to one another.

Politicians and civic leaders as well as traditional service providers help the partnership ensure adequate funding, foster community acceptance, and increase service efficiencies.

Cover and DVD of Transformation Through Partnerships: Systems Change to End Chronic Homelessness

To Order

The DVD package includes pamphlets that describe the strategic partnering principles these organizations used as well as a publication entitled Issue Brief: Strategic Partnering for Systems Change.

“We are not creating a service system to permanently serve people who are homeless,” said A. Kathryn Power, M.Ed., Director of CMHS. “We are building a system of care and recovery to help these men, women, and children recover and live rich, rewarding lives in the community.”

To order Transformation Through Partnerships: Systems Change to End Chronic Homelessness, visit the National Mental Health Information Center or call SAMHSA’s Health Information Network at 1-877-SAMHSA-7.

For more information about SAMHSA’s efforts to help people who are homeless, visit the Agency’s Homelessness Resource Center.

Previously in SAMHSA News

Homelessness Services: Web 2.0 Connects Providers Online

Social Security Benefits: Outreach, Access, and Recovery for People who are Homeless

  Cover Story & Related Articles  
Treatment as an Alternative to Jail

Treatment as an Alternative to Jail & Related Articles


Funding Opportunities

Requests for applications include a variety of new grants including Project Launch.

Awards for Suicide Prevention

Awards for Suicide Prevention

Symbolic “big checks” were presented to six organizations.

  Underage Drinking  
Underage Drinking: Related Articles

Underage Drinking: Related Articles

April is Alcohol Awareness Month. Find out what you can do to help prevent and reduce drinking by teens and college students.

  Building Awareness  
Inhalants Often “First”

Inhalants Often “First”

News of recent deaths from sniffing refrigerants.

Are Prevention Messages Working?

Are Prevention Messages Working?

We’ve heard the commercials urging parents to talk. Are teens getting the message?

American Indians, Alaska Natives

American Indians, Alaska Natives

“Culture Card” offers information on tribal sovereignty, myths & facts, and more.

  Mental Health  

Economy: Help in Tough Times

You can’t see stress, but you certainly can feel it. A new SAMHSA Web site offers resources, referrals, and more.

States, IT, and Mental Health Services

States, IT, and Mental Health Services

A recent report gives a state-by-state update on information technology’s effect.

Lifeline on Twitter

Lifeline on Twitter

“Tweets” from the Nat’l Suicide Prevention Lifeline help awareness.

  Treatment Roundup  

Admissions, Facilities, & More

Recent data from two SAMHSA surveys – National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services (N-SSATS) and Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) – provide updated information.

DVD Kit on Homelessness

DVD Kit on Homelessness

Programs in Seattle and Philadelphia are two success stories highlighted in this DVD.

Recovery Month

Recovery Month

Send your press releases, studies, and news on recovery for posting on the site.

  Staff in the News  
Kana Enomoto Honored

Kana Enomoto Honored

Deputy Administrator receives the inaugural King Davis Award for Emerging Leadership.

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